This certificate program was developed in response to the need for higher retention of Indigenous students in post-secondary studies. This three-month program provides students with the skills and knowledge to successfully pursue post-secondary education/training and gain entry-level employment in their field of interest while waiting to attend post-secondary institutions. In addition to enhancing essential skills, the program creates an environment that nurtures an Indigenous worldview, creativity, language, self-reflection, and experiential learning. Whenever possible, Indigenous-based learning material is presented first.
The program aims to broaden students’ awareness of Indigenous realities in Canada, including contemporary issues and Indigenous solution-building. It teaches students how to incorporate traditional knowledge into their everyday lives and how to decolonize the spaces they live in. Students are encouraged to think for themselves, seek out answers independently, and learn how to proactively problem-solve. Each class starts with a sage smudge and an opening circle and ends with a sharing circle. Classes are primarily taught in a circle, providing every student with an opportunity to interact with the material presented in a safe and welcoming way. This approach may be challenging for some students who are not accustomed to speaking in a group, but it is also a beautiful opportunity for connection, building respect, community among students, and building confidence as they find their own voices and share teachings with each other.
Designed to meet the unique needs of Indigenous students in academic spaces, the program teaches valuable skills that improve self-confidence and self-esteem. Students can look forward to earning certifications sought by employers in an interactive and supportive environment.